Hollywood veteran Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest Instagram workout video, in which he pumps his muscles despite being 74, could be a source of inspiration and goal setting. But does this mean that all 70-year-olds should push their limits, even if they’ve followed a fairly consistent fitness regimen?
Of course, Schwarzenegger, having acquired a public image courtesy of the Terminator series, may want to look invincible and has posted videos of similar intense activities such as cycling. “But that ‘I can do too’ formula doesn’t apply to fitter seniors. As a person ages, physical condition becomes a determining factor in duration and intensity. Those who are used to a fitness regimen and have no other physical limitations can continue to train at previous levels. But they must be vigilant about certain protocols to prevent excessive enthusiasm from triggering cardiovascular events. For example, they should allow adequate time for warm-up and cool-down and avoid sudden movements. Any undue wheezing or chest discomfort should be followed by a reduction in escalation. People with a previous history of the disease should always follow a supervised exercise program, ”says Dr. Parneesh Arora, Director, Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac Sciences, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Patparganj.
The exercise limit depends on the heart rate
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Now comes the question of the intensity of the exercise in relation to age. “To estimate your age-related maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the age-related estimated maximum heart rate would be calculated as 220 – 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm). For people who do NOT have pre-existing cardiac pulmonary disorders, the above criteria apply but within safe protocols. Others should choose a moderate intensity exercise routine in which the heart rate achieved is 85% of the target frequency (220 years of age). Remember that high intensity exercise is usually meant for athletic training, professional athletes or those who practice it from an early age. So an average level is what applies to others. ” , says Dr. Arora.
Some form of exercise is good for the heart
Numerous studies have established that physical training reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease. “For cardiac benefits, exercise must be of a certain duration and of a certain intensity. The duration of cardiovascular benefits is only 70 minutes of high intensity exercise or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. For most people, training with a heart rate above 85% is difficult. Even maintaining that level is only possible through prolonged training, “says the doctor.
Safety protocols during training
It should also be borne in mind that a 30-minute window after a training session increases the risk of sudden death. “Therefore, warm up and cool down very gradually to allow the body to adapt,” says Dr. Arora.
It even suggests a method of self-control. “During the exercise, minimize speech. If you have to talk, stick to the words and not the sentences. At the end of the exercise, you should be pleasantly exhausted and not down and out. Then calibrate your periodicity and intensity accordingly. Vary your exercises. Aerobics confers greater cardiovascular benefits. So opt for walking, jogging, swimming, athletics, golf and so on. Building muscle through weight training is more of an anaerobic activity although light weights confer additional benefits beyond aerobic activity. The duration of the exercise still depends on the previous training, “suggests Dr. Arora.
Studies have shown that most seniors need about two and a half hours of aerobic exercise, such as a brisk 30-minute walk each week. Resistance exercises such as walking, dancing, and playing tennis usually help with breathing, heart rate, and energy. And in a country with a lived yoga tradition, easy body stretches keep you supple and flexible. Even simple things like standing on one foot, walking from heel to toe, or practicing yoga can keep you stable and prevent falls.
Dr Arora suggests that the focus should be on strength training which, in old age, prevents muscle loss and strengthens bones. Swimming, according to him, is a good option as exercises in the water make it easier for you to support your weight and help lubricate your joints.
Schwarzenegger had shared a grayscale image of himself training before attending an event. The actor captioned the post: “I’m charging up for the Austrian World Summit first.” The comments section of his post was filled with comments praising the actor for his fitness regimen, calling him a “hero” or “Amazing Arnold” and complimenting him on having “best biceps 50 years later.”